Amy V. Blue, Ph.D., has been named associate dean for educational affairs at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions and associate vice president for interprofessional education in the UF Health Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs. Blue starts at UF Health on September 1, 2013, and will divide her time evenly between the two positions.
“Dr. Blue brings a wealth of experience in interdisciplinary health education to UF Health and she shares our organization’s commitment to training students in the six Health Science Center colleges to provide collaborative care that is high-quality, safe and patient-centered,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health.
Currently a professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, Blue serves as MUSC’s assistant provost for education. In this role she directs the university’s interprofessional education program, Creating Collaborative Care, as well as the university’s Presidential Scholars program for students.
Blue has co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and has conducted a variety of studies evaluating different types of educational initiatives. Most recently, she completed a research project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted in collaboration with colleagues from the American Board of Internal Medicine, that examined assessment and evaluation approaches in interprofessional education. She has been an editorial board member of the journal Teaching and Learning in Medicine and is an associate editor of the Journal of Interprofessional Care. Blue served as a member of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel that wrote the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Report in 2011.
In her role as the College of Public Health and Health Professions’ associate dean for educational affairs, Blue will oversee the college’s interdisciplinary degree programs, including the bachelor’s in health science, public health master’s and doctoral degrees, and the rehabilitation science doctorate. She will also play a critical role in the college’s compliance with requirements for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS.
As associate vice president for interprofessional education, Blue will direct the UF Health Office of Interprofessional Education, which has developed cross-college learning opportunities for the academic health center since 1999. She takes the reins from Richard Davidson, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine and associate vice president for health affairs for interprofessional education, who co-created UF’s Interdisciplinary Family Health course in the 1990s. The course now involves more than 600 students and faculty from all six colleges and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“The interprofessional education program at UF was one of the first in the nation and the Interdisciplinary Family Health course is a wonderful way to introduce students to interprofessional collaboration in a meaningful fashion through their work with families in the community,” Blue said. “The Office of Interprofessional Education has an extremely talented staff and the opportunity to join them and continue the innovative work initiated and led by Dr. Richard Davidson was attractive.”
Interprofessional health education programs are imperative for improving patient outcomes and patient safety, Blue said.
“When you listen to a mother who lost her teenage son due to miscommunication and lapses in teamwork amongst different health professionals, the numbers quoted from the 1999 Institute of Medicine about the number of preventable medical errors every year — some 98,0000 — are no longer abstract,” she said. “These are our loved ones, and sometimes ourselves, who suffer.”
Blue first became interested in interprofessional health education while at MUSC. The university adopted interprofessional education as the focus of its quality enhancement plan for reaffirmation of SACS accreditation.
“My educational background is in medical anthropology and the focus of improving health care delivery through improved interprofessional collaboration resonates with my anthropological interest in the culture(s) of health care professions,” she said.
Many health professions have incorporated interprofessional education into educational accreditation criteria, and health care organizations are recognizing the need to expand team-based care to address national quality standards. UF is a national leader in interprofessional education issues, Blue said.
“The UF Health Science Center is far more advanced in interprofessional education than many learning institutions due to its pioneering work in interprofessional education,” she said.